Australian GT have introduced the last of their calendars for the 2020 season, with the unveiling of a new approach to the Trophy Series program, a schedule which will see ten events offered between February and November, with teams given the option to go for ‘six of the best’, allowing them the ability to ‘drop’ rounds as they compete across the season to card their points tally from their best six results.
The season will begin with State Series rounds in Victoria and New South Wales, those events attracting half points towards the 2020 Trophy Series title, allowing competitors who are looking to move into the national championship an opportunity to gain experience – and valuable points – before heading to such venues as Bathurst, Phillip Island and the Gold Coast.
Catering to older generation GT3-spec cars (2016 and earlier), the Trophy Series category represents the largest collection of GT cars in the country, a situation that prompted a more comprehensive calendar for the new season, a calendar that will see the category combined with events in both the Australian GT Championship, and the Australian Endurance Championship as a standalone opportunity.
“There has been much discussion amongst teams with Trophy Series cars about varying the calendar to provide a wider range of events,” Australian GT category rights holder Jim Manolios explained. “Trophy Series is the entry point into our sport for many drivers, and now they can put their toe in the water during the State Series rounds, score points and then progress to some of the best venues in the country like Bathurst, Phillip Island and The Bend.
“The 2020 calendar also includes additional standalone events alongside the Endurance Championship, whilst also providing an earlier start to the season for those Trophy Series teams, whilst the outright cars enjoy their start to the year at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
“The calendar will be arguably the best program delivered for the Trophy Series, with two races at Mount Panorama [Bathurst], two at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, and events with Supercars at circuits like the Gold Coast, Barbagallo, The Bend and Sandown.
“Value was a big consideration when compiling this calendar. We’ve put together a great package that is actually more cost effective than past seasons, and with the ability to campaign two drivers in each car, it represents arguably the best value GT competition in the country with no compromises. We’re focussed on providing quality racing at great circuits with professional support – providing a great introduction to the GT category at the highest level in Australia.”
The 2020 Trophy Series season begins with the two State Series (half points) rounds back-to-back – with Sandown in February, and Sydney Motorsport Park in early March, an opportunity for teams to enjoy valuable miles to kick off the year.
From there teams will join Australian GT at Phillip Island for the GT Sportscar Festival in mid-March for two dedicated 60-minute races, before heading to Mount Panorama for the first of two visits in 2020, three weeks later.
From Bathurst alongside the outright and GT4 cars, the Series will then join the Supercars program at Barbagallo in Perth, before the second of the Phillip Island Australian Endurance Championship events in mid-August. A month later the Trophy Series will rejoin the GT3 and GT4 cars at The Bend Motorsport Park alongside Supercars, before returning to Mount Panorama for the biggest event of the season, the iconic Bathurst 1000. The season will then conclude with two more events alongside Supercars on the streets of Surfers Paradise in late October, and finally the Sandown 500 three weeks later.
For the bulk of the season, the Trophy Series rounds will contest a minimum of two 20-minute practice sessions, two 10-minute qualifiers and two 60-minute races, with the exception coming during the opening round at Sandown where the format will include two, six-lap races and a single 50-minute race. The two State Series round (rounds one and two) will also only attract half points towards the overall tally, based on each registered driver’s finishing result.
The race formats will cater for two drivers, with Australian GTs traditional mid race ‘compulsory pit stop’ included, whilst the overall Series points will be scored from each team’s best six results across the season.
Aside from Trophy Series cars, the category will also include Trofeo Challenge registered cars which include one-make GT Production Sports Cars including those eligible for Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Ferrari Challenge and Porsche Carrera Cup, whilst the category will also include Endurance Cars like the MARC Cars (I/II) and Invited Cars that would fall under the rules of the global Creventic Series. Invited CAMS 2B and 2F Production Sports Cars would also be eligible.
Typical of past seasons of Australian GT, only FIA Bronze and FIA Silver classified drivers will be eligible to compete.
“That concludes our full calendar of events for 2020, a schedule of eleven events that runs between mid February and mid-November across some of the best circuits in the country,” Manolios added. “We’re pleased to have been able to put this program together, and look forward to the season ahead, a season that includes arguably the best and most cost efficient Australian GT program in recent years.
“We also have some additional news coming with respect to our media program for 2020, and we look forward to unveiling that, early in the new year.”
2020 Australian GT Trophy Series
Rnd#1 – 14-16 February, Sandown, Victoria [VIC Prod. Sports]**
Rnd#2 – 6-8 March, Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW [NSW Prod. Sports]**
Rnd#3 – 20-22 March, Phillip Island, Victoria [GT Sportscar Festival]
Rnd#4 – 10-12 April, Bathurst, NSW [Bathurst 6-Hour]#
Rnd#5 – 15-17 May, Barbagallo, WA [Supercars]
Rnd#6 – 14-16 August, Phillip Island, Victoria [AEC 4-Hour]#
Rnd#7 – 18-20 September, The Bend Motorsport Park, SA [Supercars]
Rnd#8 – 8-11 October, Bathurst, NSW [Supercars]
Rnd#9 – 30 Oct.-1 Nov. Gold Coast, Queensland [Supercars]
Rnd#10 – 20-22 November, Sandown, Victoria [Supercars]
** half points #standalone AGTTS races
Source. Motorsport Media